BEIRUT: MP Michel Moussa, of Speaker Nabih Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc, said Tuesday that the extension of President Michel Sleiman's term was not subject to discussion and called for a consensual new head of state.
“The extension of President Michel Sleiman’s tenure was not brought up among parliamentary blocs,” Moussa told the Voice of Lebanon radio station. “President Sleiman is clear in rejecting the option of extension."
Sleiman’s term expires on May 25. The outgoing president has said repeatedly that he opposes extending his six-year mandate.
Moussa said Lebanese officials must reach “a consensus on a presidential candidate to avoid vacuum in the country.”
He said it was still possible to elect a new “strong” president and that contacts were still underway, in a reference to a possible agreement on Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun as a consensus candidate.
“The attempt to elect a new strong president is not over yet, a lot of parties are still waiting the results of ongoing contacts and eventually this would lead to a formula that secures the election of a new president,” he said.